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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 56 ~ March 26, 2003

A few thoughts on the upcoming school election and the candidates. Plus, the board votes to support legislation to make it easier to pass local school taxes.
~ Brad Haugaard (

ELECTION ~ The board ordered a "Regular Biennial Governing Board Member Election" for Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2003 (It had a choice?). Three board seats will be open. Assuming all three incumbents choose to run, Roger Graziani, Francis Cash and Betty Sandford will be running. I'd sure like to see at least one new member. One member who is not a good buddy of everybody else on the board. Someone who is a forceful independent.

NICER? ~ We will almost certainly find as the year goes on that these three incumbents will become more active, will speak at greater length, will attempt to make more thoughtful comments, and will be given the spotlight by their colleagues. They'll also be nice to me, which shows great strength of character since I've given them very little reason to do so. It actually started tonight. Maybe the resolution triggered it. Both Sandford and Cash were far more loquacious.

THOUGHTS ~ Just so you know, here are my thoughts on these board members. I don't really think any of the board members deserves an A, or a B for that matter, although Monina Diaz (read below) may seriously impress me if she keeps on as she's been doing. But Diaz is not up for reelection.

SANDFORD ~ Betty Sandford, on the other hand, is up for reelection, and while she made a good attempt tonight to be bright and ask intelligent questions, I feel it is just too little too late. I've been watching her performance since Feb. 9, 2000 and her visible contributions over the years have been very minimal. And if there are invisible contributions, I am unaware of them.

CASH ~ Frances Cash seems a bit more with it. Over the years she occasionally asks a perceptive question or makes a good point.

GRAZIANI ~ Graziani strikes me as the best of the three. Not great, but okay, though he has occasionally aggravated the socks off me. For example, once he he waxed eloquent over a high school counselor's efforts to get students into college. He said, "This is something I've been looking for for 18 years." He's a board member for Pete's sake! He's in charge! If he wanted it done, why didn't he make it happen? Nevertheless, as a long-time member he has a store of historical knowledge of the district that occasionally seems valuable.

CONTRIBUTIONS ~ In her report, Monina Diaz indicated that she is still pursuing - and apparently making progress on - her vision for getting private contributions for the school district. I'm becoming impressed at her initiative. Maybe it'll rub off on the others.

TAX ~ The board voted to support an Assembly bill that would allow school districts to approve a local parcel tax with a 55 percent majority rather than the two-thirds majority currently required. Chief Business Officer Linda Dempsey said with a parcel tax, some properties in the district can be exempt. Taylor added that the money from a parcel tax "can apply to anything." She said if the district decided it wanted to spend it on a music program, it could.

FIRST DAY ~ The board decided to make September 2 the first day of the 2003-04 school year.

GERMAN ~ Congratulations to Tom Anderson and Kate Burrill, who won national certificates from the American Association of Teachers of German. Also, Alex Rasmussen, Brigitte Hochner, Pauline Jaturongpanich, Chris Earle, and Hannah Terrill won state certificates. Ich spreche ein bischen Deutsch, aber ich habe sehr veil vergessen. Leider.

HONOREES ~ Congratulation to the employees of the month: Wild Rose School instructional aide Lorene Johnson; Wild Rose teacher Jennifer Small; Mountain Park School clerical assistant Tillie Bustos; and Canyon Oaks High School teacher Elouise Coleman.

WAR ~ Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Joel Shawn said the district put together a packet on how to talk to kids about the Iraq War. He said it went to teachers, and some materials went home to parents of elementary students.

IRAQ ~ Speaking of which, here I am supposed to be writing about the school district and I'm thinking about Iraq. I was in the Army and have always had a layman's interest in strategy. So here's my take: Basra, in the south, is holding back a bunch of British troops. But Basra will fall and the British troops will be free to join the Americans approaching Baghdad. Plus, a couple (I think) airborne divisions have been held out of the battle, probably by the weather. They'll get in it soon, as will the 4th Infantry Division, which is on its way. The Iraqis have foolishly been facing us *outside* Baghdad. When the weather clears up, those troops will be in trouble. It would have been much harder for us if they had holed up in the city, though they may retreat there if we let them. Finally, we're apparently opening a northern front, so if the Iraqis don't have sufficient troops facing north, they'll have to move some to the north, and every time they get out of their holes and move, they'll be bombed. Think CNN will hire me as a commentator? No, I don't think so either.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular Monrovia school board meeting is on April 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive.

Copyright (c) 2003, Brad Haugaard. Also on the Web at